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Directors Global: Finding a Niche

How one brokerage is bringing big-market expertise to the middle market

I founded Directors Global in 2008, after more than 20 years working at big brokerages with some of the biggest clients in the country. I felt, after being comfortable around boards of directors and the C-suites of large companies, that a niche was missing in the mid-market.

We wanted to bring that rich experience to the middle tier. There is a gap between what the big brokers provide to their major, international clients and what’s provided to middle-market companies. We like to call ourselves a risk management specialty firm, and you don’t hear of that kind of offering for mid-sized companies.

We have over 50 years of commercial property and casualty experience, and we feel that’s the number-one key to our success: we want people here who have large commercial experience. So we’d like to attract A-team people who have been prominent in their firms before, might have been in larger firms, have a book of business, and would like now to be able to run that book and have the flexibility of being in a smaller firm. And we’d like them to retire here.

We’d be delighted to have people across Canada who fit those criteria and would like to open an office for us and help us grow our platform out across the country. But we don’t want to focus exclusively on growth; we err on the side of service. We believe that growth will follow.

So our growth has been all word-of-mouth from satisfied clients; we’re getting rave reviews because of the hands-on service we provide. If you are a Bell or Bombardier, you’re going to get an A-team when you go to the banks. But if you’re a mid-sized company, you’re going to get a B-team. I think people are seeing A-team service from us.

We also have excellent technology. We keep all our clients’ data stored for them in a portal on our website.

If there’s a challenge, it’s changing the mindset of mid-market buyers. They’ve been used to having their doors pounded by salespeople talking price. We typically go in not talking price. Once we can convince a company to give us the opportunity to audit their program, they often see they’ve been dealing with an inferior advisor. For example, we were recently given an opportunity to audit a large insurance program—and found 47 deficiencies. Sixteen of them were critical. After we were given that opportunity, we were instantly appointed and have had a rock-solid relationship since.

If we can demonstrate those advisory services, we can help companies reach their corporate objectives better and faster by reducing risk. If your objective is to have 15 percent compounded annual growth, and we can help mitigate the risks that would prevent you from getting there, then you’ll get there faster and better. All we need is the opportunity.

As told to Ronan O’Beirne

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Copyright 2014 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the August 2014 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine

Transcontinental Media G.P.